Dilbert is the award-winning 1989 creation of Scott Adams, a satirist, social commentator and cartoonist who was born in Windham, New York. Much of the inspiration for the Dilbert comic strip is drawn from Adams’ years as a bank worker in San Francisco. It was during this time that he created the main character and his canine sidekick, Dogbert. What, then, is Dilbert about? Who is Dilbert?
The eponymous star of the cartoon is a socially awkward geek with a Master’s degree in electrical engineering. He’s good at his job, knows how stuff works and is full of bright ideas, but his love life is a struggle and he doesn’t mix well. Originally, the story revolved exclusively around Dilbert and his pet dog, Dogbert, and never left the confines of his home. Eventually, the plot expanded into a Silicon Valley workplace.
In his job, Dilbert encounters various clichéd corporate types and finds himself bound in a world of ridiculous bureaucracy and petty office politics. The cartoon explores various themes within this work setting, including the main protagonist’s unnatural attraction to hi-tech gizmos, corporate contempt for the public, low office morale and micromanagement. Simply drawn, the sharp-witted Dilbert comic strip rings true with anyone that ever worked in an office or dealt with needless officialdom.
Other characters to regularly feature in the Dilbert comic strip include Dilbert’s pointy-haired boss (otherwise unnamed); experienced but lazy engineer, Wally; Asok the intern; and Alice, a fiery female engineer.
The Dilbert strip broke precedent by being the first syndicated webcomic to be published for free on the Web. To connect with his audience, Scott Adams invited feedback by including his email address on cartoons. His website continues to allow comments and voting and offers sharing facilities for social media platforms. Almost 30 years old, the popularity of Dilbert shows no sign of fading.